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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Changes coming to WSU’s defense?


We're done with Washington State football coach Paul Wulff's post mortem on the UCLA game and have our follow story for tomorrow's S-R done as well. We also have a few more thoughts on the links, so read on.

• Sometimes my mind works in strange ways, like this afternoon when I was staring at the rain out the window, trying to figure out how to write my follow up piece, and this thought hit me. The definition of irony: The second-best rushing team in the nation (331 yards per game) has a Duck for a mascot. The leading ground-gaining team? That would be the Falcons of Air Force (373.6 yards per game). Though I couldn't find a way to weave that into my story, I thought I would share it with you. ... Wulff talked a lot about the defense tonight, and that serves as the basis of our story. The thrust is WSU is contemplating some personnel changes, moving players around to increase team speed. We offered some thoughts on who those players might be and the moves that might be made in the story. The last two weeks have really shown the Cougars inability to make plays in the middle of the defense, from tackles to linebackers to safeties. If the defense is going to improve, these areas have to get better. ... One of the players who might find some playing time in an attempt to get more speed on the field is Jamal Atofau, the converted safety who started at linebacker Saturday. Wulff said Atofau has shown flashes of ability, but he's got to get more consistent on his assignments and his youth shows up at times. I immediately asked if 30 yards in personal foul penalties – which Atofau was flagged for Saturday, including the first scrimmage play of the game and a late punt return – is where the youth really shows and Wulff answered succinctly. "Yes," he said. ... Another question I asked Wulff pertained to true freshman kicker Andrew Furney and whether he felt an obligation to use Furney consistently the rest of the year now that his won't be redshirting. Wulff said Furney will be the field goal kicker– Nico Grasu will still handle kickoffs – as long as he continues to perform to the level they think he's capable of. If he isn't helping the team, they'll go back to Grasu. With eight games left – counting the UCLA game – Wulff felt he'll have a good opportunity to show what he can do and to improve and develop. ... Wulff again praised the running backs' pass protection on Saturday and said, while there were still a few holes missed, the group popped a couple runs and played well. ... As for the weekly injury report, there were no major ones once again. The usual nicks and bruises, sure, but no major problems. The Cougars are five weeks through their 11-game gantlet without a bye.


• That's all for tonight. We'll be back in the morning with more. Until then ...

Vince Grippi
Vince Grippi is a freelance local sports blogger for He also contributes to the SportsLink Blog.

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